MSocial Life Cycle Assessment (S-LCA) uses a life cycle perspective to assess social impacts of products, and the S-LCA guidelines describe developing the system boundaries based on a factory-level perspective. However, such a perspective may exclude stakeholders with a negative social performance which are cooperating with a factory but are not directly involved with the product under study, and it can result in a step back on corporate social responsibility (CSR). Our study aimed to align S-LCA with the CSR concept. Therefore, we designed a case study for the manufacturing sector in which we practiced expanding the system boundaries of S-LCA. Our results showed larger social risks after expanding the system boundaries due to subsidiary and supplier companies located in countries with less strict regulations than the Netherlands, which is where the main organizations and parent company existed. We conclude that system boundaries expansion can result in more complete picture of the involved organizations, and lead practitioners to approach S-LCA with the goal of improving social conditions and identify companies which deserve excellent or poor social scores. Its usefulness is mostly expected when S-LCA practitioners aim to identify social hotspots in supply chains in socially sensitive markets.
- Corporate social responsibility
- Human rights
- Parental liability
- Social life cycle assessment